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Personal bests abound for Hawkeyes

BY MATT SCHOMMER | FEBRUARY 08, 2010 7:30 AM

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The adage of “strength thrills, speed kills” could not be truer for the Iowa men’s track team.

The Hawkeyes had several outstanding efforts over this past weekend at the Meyo Invitational in South Bend, Ind., led by sophomore Erik Sowinski’s school-record mark in the 800 meters, 1:49.21.

Combined with Sowinski’s other milestone in the 600, he is the only active Hawkeye holding two school records. Sowinski also helped improve on his Razorback Invitational provisional qualifying time in the 1,600-meter relay by posting a time of 3:09.85.

“It’s pretty cool,” he said. “It’s surprising after only being here a year and a half and to have two school records. But it’s a real honor.”

In that same 800-meter race, senior Adam Hairston beat the former Iowa record — oddly enough, his own — but still wasn’t quick enough to overthrow Sowinski’s historic run. Sowinski and Hairston finished second and third in the race, respectively.

Men’s head coach Larry Wieczorek said he was even more impressed with Sowinski’s performance because of the circumstances.

“What makes it so amazing is that he was sick and had more than a 100-degree temperature,” he said. “He’s still only a sophomore, but he’s a dedicated guy. I think we’re going to see some great things before his career as a Hawkeye is over.”

But even the Hawkeyes who didn’t finish in the top three in their events have cause for celebration.

Iowa got some big performances from freshman Jordan Mullen and redshirt freshman Nick Holmes.
Mullen ran a collegiate-best in the 60-meter hurdles, which placed him third all-time at Iowa for the event, and Holmes posted a collegiate-best in the 3,000-meter, which ranks as the sixth-best time seen at Iowa.

“Everyone competed really well, and we felt really good about that,” Wieczorek said. “It’s probably a tired cliché, but each week we want to get better, and we’ve done that.”

The success witnessed in Indiana carried over to the athletes in Nebraska as well.

In Lincoln, Neb., Iowa’s Nick Kuczwara earned a first-place finish in the 1,000-meter run with a 2:25.84 mark, and Matt Banse had an eighth-place finish in the men’s weight throw with teammate Ryan Lamparek also posting a top-20 finish in the same event.

Banse and Lamparek also had top-15 finishes in the shot put event, and Jeffery Herron hit third in the high jump.

With so many athletes competing at a high level, the mental attitude of the team is unassumingly confident.

“Everyone is excited about the direction the team is going in,” Sowinski said. “But there’s still a lot of work to be a top-tier team in Big Ten. We’re excited, but we need to get back to work tomorrow.”


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